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Clipper system to deliver light snow/rain to NJ this weekend

Conditions might get a bit messy from Friday night through early Sunday, with light snow accumulations likely for at least northern New Jersey.

UPDATE as of 3:50 p.m. Friday…

Current advisories from the National Weather Service (Purple: Winter Weather Advisory)

As expected, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory in advance of this weekend’s messy, potentially wintry weather. Here are the details of the advisory:

–From 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday for Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties.

As you’ll read below, this storm is nowhere near as strong or precarious as Tuesday’s nor’easter. However, driving conditions could still get messy for part of the weekend, so it is worth a heads up.

Snow showers will arrive Friday evening, spreading across NJ through around Midnight (give or take). Central and southern New Jersey will probably flip to mostly rain during the day Saturday. Saturday night could feature a transition back to snow, and the potential for at least a dusting statewide. I’m pretty confident that any “significant” snow accumulation will be limited to North Jersey, north of I-78.

I reviewed this afternoon’s models and decided to keep my 2-3+ inches max snow forecast intact from this morning. (Other weather outlets are going as high as 4 or 5 inches, but I prefer the lower, more conservative forecast.)

Look for a special weather blog Saturday morning with the latest forecast details.


ORIGINAL POST from 6:31 a.m. Friday morning…

Weekend Outlook A Bit Messy 20170317

Sigh. The official first day of Spring is Monday (technically at 6:29 a.m. EDT). But if you’re looking for a taste of warm, springtime weather, you’ll have to wait another week. And yes, there is some snow (and rain) in the forecast for this weekend.

Your Friday forecast is shaping up to be pretty pleasant. Morning temperatures are close to 30 degrees, and afternoon high temps are expected to reach the lower 40s. While that will be a couple of degrees warmer than Thursday, we’re still holding about 10 degrees below normal for mid-March.

Most of Friday will be mostly sunny, with clouds increasing after about 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. Winds won’t be as gusty as the past few days, but I’ll call it “breezy,” in the 10 to 20 mph range.

For the past few days, we have been tracking a clipper system aiming for New Jersey in the Friday night to Saturday time frame. As this forecast has evolved, the impact on the Garden State has grown slightly more significant, both in time and expected weather conditions. Here’s how it breaks down now:

–TIMING: Snow showers spread across NJ (from southwest to northeast) starting around 11 p.m. Friday. As temperatures rise above freezing on Saturday morning, scattered light snow should transition to scattered light rain for southern and central NJ. And then, as temperatures fall below freezing again Saturday night, a transition back to snow and/or wintry mix will be possible through early Sunday morning.

–ACCUMULATIONS: In the “mostly snow” region of northern New Jersey (estimated as along and north of Interstate 78), 2 to 3 inches of fresh snow accumulation is likely by the end of the weekend. I have seen models suggest higher amounts around the intersection of Sussex, Passaic, and Morris counties, but I’m equally worried that sleet or wintry mix will limit totals. Hence the “+” in my forecast. In the “snow/rain-mix/snow” area of central New Jersey (generally between Interstates 78 and 195), an inch or two of snow on the ground will be possible, but no sure bet. Because the southern half of the state will see mostly rain this weekend, in addition to warmer air and ground temperatures, snow accumulation is unlikely. (If it’s cold enough — and that’s a big if — South Jersey could pick up a quick inch of snow by Sunday morning.)

–ADVISORIES: As of this writing, no warnings, watches, or advisories have been issued for this minor snow event. With 3 inches a possibility, I suspect we’ll see a Winter Weather Advisory for at least North Jersey before the snowflakes begin.

MOBILE APP ALERTS: You'll know when we know

–CONFIDENCE: The biggest question mark in this forecast is where the freezing line (i.e. the rain-snow line) will end up during the day on Saturday, which will have a direct impact on whether snow accumulates in Central to South Jersey. I’ve settled on a safe, conservative snowfall forecast — but if temperatures are colder than expected, we may end up on the high end of our forecast range for the southern 2/3 of NJ.

–IMPACTS: I’m happy to report there are no worries about wind, surge, erosion, or flooding concerns this time around! However, those light accumulations of snow and ice could make for challenging travel conditions at points during the weekend (especially Friday night and Saturday night). For most of the state, I suspect any snow will have a hard time “sticking” to paved surfaces. So again, a minor headache featuring mostly “conversational snow” or “nuisance snow” (and rain). Overall, not a big deal.

NJ FAST TRAFFIC: If it's in your way, it's in our report

Beyond the clipper, skies will clear to partial sunshine by Sunday afternoon. It will be windy and cool, with highs still stuck in the lower 40s, at best.

So when’s the warmup? Temperatures will moderate further to seasonable 50 degrees through much of next week. And it still appears an even bigger and more sustained warming trend will kick in by Friday into next weekend. Until then, stay warm! And stay safe this weekend too.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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